Meditation and Healing
Meditation: unlocking the healing force of a quiet mind
Mention meditation and many of us think of Buddhist monks, orange robes and incense. But meditation is increasingly being recognised outside of the spiritual realm as a powerful health improvement tool.
Research shows meditation can improve the well-being of people with a range of conditions including depression, anxiety, chronic pain and cancer.
It’s also becoming a popular treatment option among medical professionals, with as many as one in six Australian doctors teaching secular forms of meditation to their patients and more than 80 per cent referring them to others to learn it.
Restless minds cause
“wear and tear”
Meditation is well known as a way to help you shut out unhelpful thoughts and relax, but when practised regularly (Hassed recommends daily) it seems meditation can also help boost your health in the longer term.
Hassed argues too often our thoughts slip into a “default mode” – which involves replaying the past, worrying about the future and experiencing other negative thoughts – leading to “over-activation” of the body’s stress response.
This stress response is designed to help you deal with dangers or threats. But when it is too frequently over-activated by threats existing only in your mind, it can cause “wear and tear” on your body over time.
Hassed says research shows this ‘wear and tear’ can increase your risk of illnesses, such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and diabetes.
change your default mode …
The Power of the Brain on Pain
Your nervous system is made up of neurons, the spinal cord, and the brain. Pain neurons in your body are programmed to protect you from dangers like heat or pressure. When these pain sensors detect danger or damage, they send chemical and electrical messages up the spinal cord to the brain. Your brain then decides how to respond and sends a message back to the body. The brain might send a message to freeze, pull your hand away from a flame, or run for your life. Of course, the pain system is much more complicated, but the gist of it is that it protects the body from external dangers and ensures our survival.
Here’s the catch: The amount of pain you feel is not solely determined by the pain messages being sent up from the body or the external stimuli (i.e., the amount of heat or pressure). The brain regulates this to some extent also. The brain can decide to send more chemical and electrical messages to increase the pain sensation or choose to send different messages that decrease the pain.
The amount of pain you feel is a complex blend of:
- The external stimuli and degree of danger.
- Visual information, everything you already know and have experienced, and your emotional response.
The brain has a lot of power over the amount of pain you feel – whether during an acute injury event or during recovery. If someone perceives the injury is career ending, the recovery time will be longer.
why meditation …
Meditation Reveals the Truth
Mindfulness helps with recovery on two levels:
- Mindfulness meditation can help you recover from injury by changing your perception of the circumstance/trauma/event. It enables you to see the truth of a situation rather than letting emotion skew your opinions and reactions. You can look at the reality of how much tissue damage occurred. You can come to know if pain is authentic or based on fear. You can take an honest look at how much you are building up the meaning of an injury and causing yourself more pain. You can direct your mind towards what is important, rather than being distracted by irrational worries and beliefs that are based in fiction or illusion.
- You calm the nervous system. This aids in recovery by stopping all the fight or flight reactions you impose on your body when you catastrophize (such as increased cortisol, tense muscles, lowered levels of dopamine and serotonin, inhibition of digestion).
Mindfulness enables you to check your perceptions against an objective assessment. So when you have to spend time sitting around while recovering, you can make it productive instead of wasted – you can practice mindfulness meditation.
How meditation assists with post-surgical healing
The healing process after surgery can trigger stress to the body and have a severe impact on the immune system. This is why, in the period after surgery, the body is very susceptible to infection. Meditation plays a pivotal role in the post-operative healing process because it strengthens the immune system.
Two Guided Meditation Sound Tracks for You
Pre-Procedure Healing MeditationSound Track
Healing Through Energy AlignmentGuided Meditation
Disclaimer: When it comes to field of biology, life sciences and healing, results can never be guaranteed. The Meditation is not intended to replace conventional treatment that you may be undergoing under the guidance of your medical team. While miracles are possible, they can never be guaranteed. While we hope that the participants of this meditation will benefit from applying the information provided along with their conventional treatment, due to the nature of surgical / medical treatment and multiple variables involved, it would be impossible to guarantee outcomes.
- Meditation and Recovery from Surgery https://www.headspace.com/blog/2016/12/12/meditation-and-recovery/
- The Impact of Psychological Stress on Wound Healing: Methods and Mechanisms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052954/
- Do psychological variables affect early surgical recovery? Mavros MN, Athanasiou S, Gkegkes ID, Polyzos KA, Peppas G, Falagas ME et al.PLoS ONE. 2011;6(5):e20306.
- Meditation as medicine: a critique. Cross Curr. 2010;60(2):168-84 Hickey WS
- A brief relaxation intervention reduces stress and improves surgical wound healing response: A randomised trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2012;26(2):212-7.Broadbent E, Kahokehr A, Booth RJ, Thomas J, Windsor JA, Buchanan CM et al.